Consider this photo to be at least attempt number 20, trying to capture a special moment earlier today! 😂 (It was super windy, I had the entire shoreline to myself, and only a small nook in a piece of driftwood handy to try and hold up my phone to take a timed shot! Professional photographer, I am not! lol)
But the point is...today marks 3 months post-SDR...as well as the first (stunning!) weekend of summer. There is nowhere else I'd rather be to mark this date, than on the beach. It is my happy place, my bliss and once again, my favourite place to be.
During my long wait for SDR, a question I asked repeatedly to the other adults who had done this thing, was if walking barefoot at the beach was tolerable after SDR?
(After the sensory nerves are cut in surgery --two thirds of them in my case-- this forever leaves behind altered sensations in the feet and legs, particularly for older adults. This sensory change, including a hyper-sensitive response to touch of any kind, as well as the random, sometimes obnoxious nerve pains, pinches and zaps we get in our legs...it's part of the small price we pay for freedom from spasticity. In my mind, that trade off was always worth it when faced with the alternative.)
I could never quite get a consistent answer to my question no matter how many times I asked it, because the adult experience is so varied, so specific to each of us, our health status and severity of CP... and it's also often dependent on our age at the time of SDR. Answers ranged from "My feet haven't seen the light of day since surgery --hands off!"...to..."Meh, it feels terrible but I deal"...to...."I've never really thought about it, so I guess it's fine!"
If you know me --you know why I asked this question over and over again. Walking barefoot along the beach is therapeutic joy for me. It's how I recharge. It's where I go and what I do when I need that moment to come back to matters most in life. (And let me tell you, it's a heck of a workout, too because it challenges my balance the entire time I'm there! So it absolutely counts as PT! )
Today, I finally got my answer and it was worth the wait. Walking barefoot in sand after SDR feels just fine! Normal? Not even close...lol. Did I still get zapped a plenty just from the wind on my legs? YEP. But the sand itself isn't painful, doesn't drive me crazy, and won't take away from my love of being near the water.
Today...one more time...I was reminded of how blessed I am, with my outcome from SDR.
And... walking barefoot spasticity-free? Well, take my excitement to the next level, because it's an extraordinary feeling. That water in Lake Ontario is still ice cold, but my muscles didn't cramp once in response to the temperature! My feet moved effortlessly through that sand, and I didn't scrape my toes a single time! My knee also cooperated and didn't flare up from being on uneven ground. After the last 4 weeks I've had with it ... JOY!
Then there's also the (not so!) small detail that yep... I'm WALKING BAREFOOT AT THE BEACH WITH JUST MY CANE --no shoes, no clunky custom orthotics for an afternoon -- at exactly 3 months post-op! This Is big, because it was only 2 weeks ago that I even started tentatively using my cane outside at all...
I know I need to sit down and do a recap blog for months 2 and 3 post-SDR because there is a lot to catch you up on. I've been trying to put that together, but am struggling to find the words. So for now, I hope this post is enough. This journey is wild, and difficult and super frustrating at times... yet also often impossibly beautiful to describe. So on days like today, I just want to soak them all in. 💜